The Times reports today that Arsene Wenger is to be offered a two-year extension to his contract, with an October deadline set on signing the deal.
When first I heard rumours of a new deal being drafted for the boss – sometime around the Crystal Palace game – I put it down to rabble-rousing, a bid by the more vociferous of the Wenger Out Brigade to stir up a little extra vitriol.
I didn’t give it too much thought.
While by no means confirmed, this new report adds a little credence to the rumours, it gives them a little weight that they lacked before. In short, this is not so easy a piece of news to dismiss.
I know there are a lot of very strong, very pointed opinions on both sides of this debate – to the point that people have actually resorted to violence against their fellow fans – and this is sure to add a fresh layer of feeling to that.
Whichever way you look at it, this news is ill-timed. The recent protests are still very much at the forefront of people’s minds and the disappointment of another failed campaign is also still hanging heavily over the club, like an enormous cloud ready to rain down droplets of acidic manure.
To be in the midst of contract extension talks, then, with everything that is going on, would seem very strange at best, and inflammatory at worst.
Of course, news that doesn’t come from official club sources must always be taken lightly salted, so it’ll be interesting to see whether Arsene will be drawn on it in his final few appearances in front of the press.
We all know that Arsene is a clever, very astute operator, and he will not be blind to bad feeling that has simmered around the club for the last 18 months. For him to sign up to another two years now, before the biggest summer of his managerial career, would seem to be folly.
The Times reports that American owner Stan Kroenke is the driving force behind the contract offer and, if true, it will only serve to strengthen the bad feeling that is slowly creeping up around his knees at the moment.
There are many who feel he cares little for the club and its fans, and only for how much revenue he can extract from him. News like this does little to detract from that view and will, in the long run, only serve to sour an already fractious relationship.